Friday, January 8, 2010

Leigh Brackett - Bill Pronzini

One page introduction to her story in the Hard-Boiled anthology.

You can find it by Google Books now apparently. It is Page 348. Search for Leigh Brackett works, too.

"Until the runaway popularity of the female private eye in recent years, few women wrote hard-boiled and noir fiction. Most women authors seem to have preferred their crimes and misdemeanors to take place in poundings more genteel than Raymond Chandler's mean streets and to be couched in less graphic and violent prose. But a few women did enter what was perceived as a "man's world" in the 1940s and 1950s, and some of them had significant careers. One was Georgia Ann Randolph Craig, who
(under the pseudonym Craig Rice) created Chicago lawyer John F. Malone. Other notables wear Helen Nielsen, M. V. Heberden, and Dolores Hitchens. But the woman with the most impressive body of work, whose achievements rank her as one of the top hard-boiled—fiction writers of all time, was Leigh Brackett.
Brackett was an avowed admirer of Chandler and the Black Mask schooland her novel No Good from a Corpse (1944) a southern California tale featuring private detective Edmond Clive, is so Chandleresque in style and approach that it might have been written by Chandler. Indeed Brackett was one of the coauthors of the screenplay of The Big Sleep in 1940 and twenty-five years later she wrote the script for the Robert Altman-Elliot Gould film version of The Long Goodbye (1974). The Tiger Among Us and An Eye for an Eye. her two 1957 suspense novels, are also powerful noir stories set against midwsetern backdrops. Oddly 1957 was the only year in the 1950s in which Brackett published crime fiction; the balance of her output during that decade consisted of science fiction and screenplays. "So Pale. So Cold. So Fair," a gripping tale of political corruption and murder in a small Ohio town where "sin is organised, functional and realistic." first appeared in the men's magazine Argosy in July 1957. Like the best of her handful of crime shorts published in the 1940s, this story contains echoes not only of Chandler but of both Dashiell Hammett and Paul Cain. It might well have been featured in black Mask one or two decades earlier—a magagne in which Brackett did not appear even once.

4 out of 5

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